After several months in the studio Safe Haven has come out with a new album! On August 28 they released Chasing The Sun which may be their most anticipated project to date.
I am a new fan of Safe Haven but I am happy to have joined their family of fans with this album. When I listened to Chasing The Sun I understood why their fans are so devoted. It has been a while since I have enjoyed a band so much overall.
The band from the hometown of La Mirada California is a family first and a band second. Three of the members–Gil (vocals/bass) Dan (drums/vocals) and Mani Sandoval (lead guitar/vocals)–are brothers and Josh Ledezma (guitar/vocals) is a childhood friend.
Safe Haven formed in 2003. They came from the kind of humble beginnings that make some of the most interesting bands: in a garage with newly learned skills. This seems like the classic rock band story and normally I wouldn’t bat an eye at it but when you talk to them you will see that these beginnings are very important to them. When you listen to their music you will see that these beginnings of learning and growing together are what has created such a great sound.
The album begins with “The Traveling Salesman.” I enjoy when the beginning track is a high energy song. I like it even more when the song’s lyrics are inspiring. This track proves the writing skills of this band; I was hooked after the chorus and could tell this would be a great song to experience live.
As the album progresses everything just starts to get really fun. Every track is easy to listen to and the lyrics have a wonderful “feel good” quality. Even though each song demonstrates precision and an attention to detail that is hard to come by in this genre none of them feel forced or over thought.
When I first heard the transition between “Easy” and “Home ” I thought that it was some sort of a breakdown. The transition is so smooth and the guitar work really steals the show on these tracks. The guitar riff for “Home” was stuck in my head for three days and I had heard the track only once.
In addition to the guitars the drums and bass work wonderfully together. The song is very catchy which I commend them for because the subject matter is very emotional. In that sense I pick up a bit of a U2 vibe from them on this album.
My favorite songs this time around are “Home ” “Blind ” “Going Nowhere ” and “Go!” As I listened to “Blind ” it became my favorite in the first 30 seconds. Like the other tracks on the album every instrument has a strong part and the vocals are spot on! However it was the bass that really sucked me into this song! The steadiness builds into the chorus which comes off with absorbing passion revealing the lyrics to be even more satisfying than the instruments. “You see the pain and turn away// Drop a coin thinking everything will be okay// Ignorance has infected your brain// Are you insane?// An eye for an eye leaves the world blind // leaves the world wondering why”
In an interview Mani gave some surprising information about the title track of the album. “Chasing The Sun” was written the morning of their recording session at Gil’s kitchen table. They thought it was going to be a track they would throw away because even without it they had 10 really strong songs to record.
Something about that makes the song feel even more special. There is such an honesty and innocence to this track and knowing its origin takes away the mystery as to why. Their ability to write such a powerful song in such a short amount of time is impressive because it sounds like something that had been well-practiced and carried the emotion of a song that had been thought about countless times.
This album demonstrates the fact that these guys do not take the easy way out when it comes to songwriting. The music is well-written and clearly well-rehearsed. In a genre where a lot of the music can be trite and feel thrown together Safe Haven almost remakes the entire style. None of the lyrics are predictable even though they are so passionate; they feel like the thoughts you’ve had many times before but didn’t know how to express.
Safe Haven is rising in popularity and even though they have played all over the world they have not let their success alter their mission. If anything it seems to make them stronger and their message grows bolder as their music gets better. They are not doing this to be famous. They have no intentions of being rock stars and I know if you told them that you heard their song on the radio they would still get excited about it.
Chasing The Sun has been my soundtrack for the month of August and I know it’s going to continue to have an important place in my library. This album shows that this is a band making music that could easily be the soundtrack of our lives. They are not selling a gimmick they are not trying to hide their intentions and the music speaks for itself. I suggest we all watch Safe Haven with great anticipation.
If you haven’t picked up a copy yet you can get it on iTunes Amazon or directly from their merch site at http://www.safehavenmerch.com/ (they have vinyls there!).